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Full text of "The History Of Western Education"

4oa        HISTORY OF WESTERN EDUCATION

are seen to be but the final stages of a process of development
which has its beginnings in every individual child. " We do not
know the meaning either of his tendencies or of his performances,
excepting as we take them as germinating seed or opening bud
of some fruit to be borne. The whole world of visual nature is
too small an answer to the problem of the meaning of the child's
instinct for light and form. The entire science of physics is none
too much to interpret adequately to us what is involved in some
simple demand of the child for explanation of some casual change
that has attracted his attention."*

The effect of this re-statement of the sciences and the arts
in terms of individual experience is to transform the whole
character of the educator's work. The subject-matter of in-
struction in its original form is ill-suited for the direction of the
growing mind of the child. It is only too apt to be an empty
symbol without meaning for him, a hieroglyph for which he lacks
the key. But abandon the idea that what has to be learned is
something fixed and ready-madejjutside the learner's experience,
and see it as a necessary satisfaction of Jus mental constitution.:
instruction then becomes a " continual reconstruction, moving
from the child's present experience out into that represented by
the organized bodies of truth that we call studies," and the
studies, on the other hand, become integral parts of jthe child's
coadj^jmd^cfe^                                                present needs

jitid aims^Orice thejight connection between child and curri-
cirium isjsst^^                          ^tfeere is no longer any lack of ~

do the |_work wWchj>hpul^

For the most part, as Dewey readily admits, the application
of these principles to school practice still remains to be made.
They present an ideal which can only be realized by long-con-
tinued research and experiment. But there is one principle of
general method, suggested by the new psychology, which is of
immediate efficacy. That is the priority of action to abstract
thought. In this respect, the old psychology led the educator
sadly astray. It was a psychology of intellect, in which emotion
and endeavour occupied but an incidental and derivative place.
It laid the main stress in education on learning to think aright.
But according to the genetic view of mind, thought arises from
* The School and the Chttd> p, 31.